Internet Retailer Best of the Web 2007 for Books/CDs/DVDs.
Back in the day, books and CDs were the products that pioneered e-retailing. Because retailers of these products generally have been selling for longer periods than many other merchants, they have always had a leg-up when it comes to innovating web site design and functionality. Today they continue to march forward, but some of these e-retailers are marching at a faster pace—and as such easily staying ahead of the pack.
Abebooks.com marched way ahead of the pack this year by investing in a social networking site that today links social networkers at LibraryThing.com with the products and content on Abebooks.com. Social networking is a wholly unproven marketing tactic for e-commerce—and basically any industry. But Abebooks.com executives believe this kind of use of a social network will pay off.
Ahead of the game as always, Apple’s iTunes this year leapt into downloadable movies, a product for which demand in the United States is at best difficult to measure. As part of the launch of iTunes 7, the newly redesigned version of the iTunes online store, the company now offers movies.
And on the subject of film, movie master Netflix also is way out in front in the Books/CDs/DVDs category, making great strides with the technique of personalization. Netflix is one of the true innovators when it comes to merchandising and selling in a way that is unique to each customer. And this year it decided to innovate the art of personalization even more. Surprising many industry observers, Netflix decided that to make its personalization tactics even better it would turn to its customers for help. In an open competition it calls Netflix Prize, Netflix will award $1 million to the first person or team that can develop a new personalization engine that will improve the accuracy of its movie recommendations by at least 10%.
After achieving 247.5% sales growth in 2005, SimplyAudiobooks.com this year pushed hard to increase the efficacy of its marketing and conversion efforts by 50% in order to continue its considerable growth. The company now is using landing pages more effectively, says Sanjay Singhal, vice president of marketing, bringing pay-per-click bid management in-house and creating multiple domains that specialize in each of its product lines.